SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
May 26, 2017 – Vol. 40
Music reviews come in all sizes, but you’re busy and do not have time for flowery language… or sentences, really.
Spinal Tap gave the world the greatest album review of all time:
Welcome to our “Shark Sandwich” — razor-sharp reviews that sum up an album in five sentences or less.
The Charlatans – Different Days
“Madchester” veterans of the early 90s, The Charlatans have seen tragedy and lineup changes, but in 2017 all that matters is Different Days. The band’s new album retains some of the rhythms of the past, but it is feels much more organic and subtly pastoral. It is the perfect soundtrack for waiting for a train or plane to take you someplace else–someplace better maybe. One doesn’t ever fully escape the beauty and wreckage of the past. The Charlatans acknowledge this on Different Days, and accept it as a ghost that lingers to inform their present.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Solutions”
Danzig – Black Laden Crown
Danzig gonna Danzig, and for this you should thank the stars, hail Satan, or whatever. Just make sure you bang it hard with Glenn and whoever happened to be in the room when he decided to make Black Laden Crown. It’s all here: bluesy Sabbath riffs, raspy hushed vocals that erupt in huge rich howls, and daaaarkneeeeess my love, darkness. This is a largely slow affair, creeping amongst the tombstones and scarecrows. Put it on at full volume at 3am, and see how long it takes your neighbors to call the cops and a priest.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Devil on Hwy 9”
Thunder Dreamer – Capture
You could be forgiven for thinking, by name alone, that Thunder Dreamer would sound a little like Danzig, but no, not at all. To the band’s credit, Capture is far more “dreamer” than “thunder,” making their swirly, dreamy, muted rock and roll progress like a stately after-hours ball at the Von Trapp mansion. I don’t really know what that means, but don’t hold that against this Indiana band. They want you to listen, and the best way to do that is with headphones in a hammock on an unseasonably cold, rainy early summer day. Not that I would know.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “You Know Me”
Shakira – El Dorado
It is jarring when Shakira gives us English vocals on El Dorado (The Golden), and this highlights the poetry of the lyrics en Español. There is a stable of guest vocalists on the album, but it isn’t overbearing. The different voices add to the overall Latin explosion that charms your eardrums and uncocks your hips. You don’t necessarily need to know what she is singing, but you need to pay attention to how she is singing it. It’s infectious.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Amarillo”
Justin Townes Earle – Kids in the Street
Music is in Justin Townes Earle’s DNA. If you don’t know who he is, look it up on your own time. In the meantime, pop on Kids in the Street for a ramshackle, oil-drum barbecue, rock and roll party in the street. It’s a greasy, gritty date at the junkyard narrated by someone who knows the ups and downs of life and destiny. The rocking moments kick up plenty of dust, but it is the tender moments that make you sit up and take notice.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Kids in the Street”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Danzig – Nuclear Blast Entertainment; Justin Townes Earle – New West Records; Thunder Dreamer – 6131 Records; the Charlatans – BMG Rights Management; and Shakira – SME US Latin LLC.